March 27, 2012

Jerod Haase Introduced as New Basketball Coach

BARTOW ARENA - UAB's has a new head coach who really wants to be here and wants to stay here for the rest of his career. Jerod Haase added that he and his family looked at UAB as a place where they could establish roots in the community. In other words, "UAB is a job I would walk to," he said in his opening press conference.

Haase is moving fast to fit into that community, both at UAB and within the city of Birmingham. He met with UAB's returning players prior to the press conference, describing the current players as personnel that "fits what I want to do."

Haase promised to provide a fan-friendly program based on a "free-lance offense" and primarily a man-to-man defense. "I'll learn from the legacy of Coach [Gene] Bartow" he said, adding that he wanted to take "a great program and make it greater."

Haase described the UAB job as "a dream situation." He noted that he inherited a talented group of players and that he could enhance the talent level because he can "recruit at a high level."

Haase's recruiting skills was one reason athletics director Brian Mackin and his search committee selected Haase for the job. Mackin identified five other factors also involved in the decision, i.e., Haase had a record as a winner, a fierce competitor who hated to lose, he understood the game and put a strong emphasis on academics. Most of all, Mackin added, "He is a great person and will be a great coach."

Haase insisted he wasn't superstitious, but he noted that North Carolina coach Row Williams stopped the team bus on the trip to St. Louis so that the entire team could "spit in the Mississippi [River]" for good luck. North Carolina won the following game, so Haase said he went back to the river and spit in it again - not for another victory but for the chance to get the UAB job.

Haase said his first job will be to recruit the current players, trying to keep them all. After that, he will put together a coaching staff while recruiting new players for next season.

He plans to attend the Final Four in New Orleans this weekend to talk with potential assistant coaches. After that, he will try to fill some needs in recruiting, particularly be increasing the size of the team.

What can the players expect? He wants to recreate the positive environment that he enjoyed when playing at Kansas for coach Williams.

What about the fans? They should expect a fast-paced game. When the opponent scores a bucket, he noted, he wanted his team to run down the court and get their own score within three of four seconds.

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